"It was the worst of times, it was the best of times." Charles Dickens began his "Tale of Two Cities" with those lines which I think a lot of us have memorized. While many have not actually read the book, the saying has passed into common usage. I have thought about that a number of times this summer as I watch gallery after gallery closing - Bucheon, Reeves and Lincart in Hayes Valley and many others throughout the city. Now comes news that one of our oldest non-profit arts organizations is in serious trouble:
There may be some help for the arts on the horizon. I haven't followed the latest news on that front but I haven't heard about anything like a new version of the WPA. While some people think that it's OK that only the strong survive, I feel that's a harsh attitude to take toward art - any art whether music, painting, poetry or dance. In this country what's considered strong seems to be the ruthless and powerful who have no interest in anything that doesn't make a huge profit. Creativity - other than in manipulating the stock market - is ignored or denegrated. I remember when I read about the the "Society of Six," and how the Depression of the 1930's forced them to chose between their art or not being able to take care of themselves and their families. Only two continued to paint. Will that be true of the current generation?